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Keep the Trash Out

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A wise person is hungry for knowledge,
     while the fool feeds on trash.
— Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)

Several weeks ago, millions of people were glued to their TVs watching this year’s Super Bowl event. It’s interesting to note that studies have shown while roughly half the audience is watching because of the football game, the other half actually watches for the commercials. Companies create ads so engaging that what is typically perceived as an interference in our entertainment is actually seen as entertainment itself.

But we all know the real reason why companies put together such ads — it’s to increase their sales. In fact, companies spend a whopping $5 million for a 30-second time slot during the Super Bowl and $8 million for 60 seconds. All this proves what ad companies already know: what we see profoundly impacts what we do.

In Proverbs we read: “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” Or as we sometimes say, “garbage in, garbage out.” Whatever goes in, must come out. So if a wise person hungers for knowledge and consumes knowledge, he or she is going to make wise decisions about how to act. On the other hand, a fool “feeds on trash.” A fool is drawn toward foolishness and, as a result, acts foolishly.

What are we feeding ourselves?

In the original Hebrew Bible, there is a phenomenon that occurs every so often where a word is written one way, but we are instructed to read it another way. In this verse, we read that the fool’s mouth desires foolishness, but it actually is written that a fool’s face desires foolishness, or trash. What does it mean that the face desires trash? The most prominent feature of the face aside from the mouth are the eyes. In Deuteronomy 15:39 we are warned about chasing after what our eyes see and desire. What we see is what we ultimately consume — and what eventually consumes us.

Just as it is important to be careful with what we ingest physically so that we might have a strong and healthy body, so, too, we need to be vigilant in what we see and digest in order to keep a strong and healthy soul. Don’t be fooled into thinking that what we see doesn’t affect how we think and what we do. If that were true, no one would pay $5 million dollars for a 30-second ad!

What we look at matters. What we pay attention to matters. So we better guard ourselves from consuming trash. Instead of watching garbage on television, use your eyes to fill yourself up on God’s Words. Don’t listen to trash talk; instead listen to inspiring Bible classes.

It’s been said “you are what you eat.” Perhaps a more accurate statement is we are very much the product of what we see, hear, and think.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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